Man with months to live stranded in apartment as 12-storey lift breaks

Wales media credit
Neil Barnes, 69, has just months left to live but is unable to leave his flat due to the broken lift Credit: Wales Media

A man with only months to live has been isolated in his apartment after the only lift in his block broke last month.

Residing in a 12-storey building in Cardiff, Neil Barnes said he has stopped leaving his flat as it takes almost a half hour for him to climb the stairs to his 10th floor home.

The 69-year-old has been told he could have less than a year to live following his bowel cancer diagnosis, which has since spread to his liver, lungs and spine.

The retired engineer, who has lived in the apartment for the past 11 years, said: "It's claustrophobic, it feels like Covid again with the lockdowns.

"It's tough on your wellbeing, but I've also got lots of appointments and things to sort out, with the hospice for example, which I've had to cancel."

Mr Barnes has lived in the flat for 11 years, he described walking up to the 10th floor as 'excruciating' Credit: Media Wales

He added: "The engineer got called out and said he'd come back the next day but it then transpired that the lift needed a part which is in Germany and wouldn't arrive for more than a week.

"It's been ten days and we're in the same position and I haven't left other than for an appointment and that was excruciating.

"I've had problems with my back for a while but I've now been told it's because the cancer has spread to my spine.

"It means it's agony for me to climb the 162 steps."

The building, which is located at Victoria Wharf near the International Sports Village in Cardiff, is managed by First Port.

A representative said they had ordered the necessary part for the lift shortly after it was reported broken on November 21, but due to it being manufactured abroad, there were delivery delays.

Mr Barnes said: 'It's tough on your wellbeing, but I've also got lots of appointments and things to sort out which I've had to cancel' Credit: Media Wales

Mr Barnes continued: “It’s a 12-storey building and there are many people in this building who are disabled and need access to a lift.

“My wife who is 66 has had to go out and get the shopping without me and she had to lug it up the stairs completely on her own."

He also claimed staff at Victoria Wharf refused to aid him when he asked for assistance: "We’ve asked staff on site to help and they’ve said no-one was available to assist us because they're not trained in that way.

"All we asked was if they could carry a fold-up chair up the stairs for me. Considering we pay a £4,000 annual maintenance fee, I’d have thought that the least they could do was help us up the stairs.”

He added: “I don’t think they have a log or realise the number of people who have disabilities in this building.

"There should at the very least be more support so people don't feel locked in their apartments."

A spokesman for First Port said: "We fully understand the difficulties a lift outage can pose.

"We have issued regular updates to residents throughout, and our team will continue to do all they can to support those who require help.

"Since the breakdown of the lift, we have explored all possible options to restore the lift, including temporary solutions.

"Unfortunately, the lift requires a replacement part, which is also a vital safety component, meaning a temporary solution has not been possible.

“Although the replacement part was ordered on the day the breakdown occurred, the required part is manufactured outside of the UK, which has delayed the necessary repairs.

"We understand the replacement part has now been dispatched and engineers are on standby to complete the repairs as soon as the part arrives, in the coming days."

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know...